Johan Backlund is still walking with crutches.
"They took an MRI from my hip and I was told that I had a cartilage in my hip joint and that I needed an operation after the season", Backlund explains. "But I was forced to keep playing because our other goalies also had injuries and it ended up making my injury worse."
The operation that was done in Nashville earlier this summer was successful. Backlund has to use crutches for five to eight weeks.
"I'm glad that everything went well, but it took a little longer than I had counted. First I was told that I could go home and be two weeks in Sweden. I was supposed to use crutches for two weeks and then go back to Philadelphia. But now it became eight weeks and I've been over there almost the whole time. Eight weeks was a little setback, it was a short summer in Sweden, but there will be more summers."
Backlund flies back to Philadelphia tonight.
"I'm going back and start rehabilitating together with our physical trainer, so I'm going to get a lot of help from him."
Backlund isn't sure how much the injury slows down his preseason training.
"I don't really know, we'll see. Teams in Sweden hit the ice right now and I would've liked to join them and play a little. At the same time, the season starts later in North America so there is time, but I would've liked to get some ice time already now."
Backlund's goal is to be back in practice when the Flyers training camp starts.
"It depends on what the doctors say, but the camp starts on September 11th and I hope to be there then. But I can't effect my recovery that much. The most important thing is to not stress about it, it won't be good then. I know some people who have gone through the same operation and then come back too early and have setbacks. The most important thing is to become healthy."
Backlund says he has good memories from his first season with the Flyers.
"I got my chance, but then I got hurt. But it was a lot of fun to be up there and I also got to stay up with the team during the playoffs. I look forward to this season since now I know what waits for me and what is demanded."
According to some other Phantoms, Backlund was a popular player on the team.
"Yeah, haha. I got some recognition there, but I was up with the Flyers then so I wasn't there, but it was really nice."
Backlund says there were some Swedish teams interested in signing him this summer, but his first choice was to remain in North America.
"Yeah, I heard from my agent that there were some inquiries. But it never became anything concrete. I told my agent that my goal is to stay in North America and give it one more chance. But I had to make a quick decision since Swedish teams want to sign their goaltenders early and in the NHL you can wait a little longer. I'm really glad that the Flyers wanted me to stay."
Report: Nikita Zaitsev to stay in Russia next season - The Flyers will have to wait just a little while longer to get a crack at the potential free agent. Some more news out of Russia this morning, it seems...
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